Tuesday, July 26, 2016

July 25 - 31, 2016, WI

Tuesday, July 26.  My heart is thumping after witnessing a terrible attack on Frisco by a pit bull and a Great Dane.  Pat and I were walking, across the street were 2 women attempting to get their dogs in the house.  Pat warned me to keep ahold of my dog as I was waiting for a car to go by so I could cross the street.  The woman in the car stopped to let me cross and as soon as I stepped off the curb, both dogs came running toward me and the pit grabbed Frisco by the neck and pulled him right out of his collar.  There was pandemonium as the women tried to get the dogs to let go - yes, they were taking turns grabbing Frisco, and Pat was kicking at random and we were all screaming. Frisco broke away and ran toward the house and when I got there he was sitting on the stoop.  At first, I didn't see any cuts and he wasn't limping, but shortly after, I discovered that he has several lacerations on his neck. 

The vet that I saw was my old friend, Claire, and she checked him out good - he has no broken bones and the cuts did not retire stitches. She put him on an antibiotic regimen for the next week.  He is moving pretty slowly and slept right up next to me most of the night.

This experience has reinforced my fear of pit bulls.  They may be very nice pets but are uncontrollable in these types of situations.  

Thursday, July 28.  Frisco is done no much better today.  The wounds are healing nicely and he has been a bit more spirited.  I did notice that his bark sounded really scratchy, like his throat is sore. I hope that heals as well.

Savana got home from her trip to Scotland last night.  Unfortunately, her grandmother was having back problems the entire time and they were not happy with the structure of the tour that they were on, unable to spend time at the places that they really wanted to see and very little time for walking around by themselves or doing some shopping.

Today, Pat, Savana and I went to Madison to the Veterans Museum to see a collection of World War II posters that is new and then we walked down State Street to the Chazen Art Museum and took in the collections there.  On our way back up State Street, we stopped at The Parthenon for a gyro, although I chose a Greek salad instead.  Good stuff.

It was a busy night too. I picked Rene up and then met Jonnie, Dawn, and Rich at Rotary Park in Stoughton, to listen to the McCloskey family band, very entertaining bluegrass music.  Then, we all headed to Madison to hear Marcia Ball in Central Park.  We got an easy parking spot, just a half block from the stage and a place to watch the band and boogie for the next 1.5 hours.  What a great time it was!  

At one point, I turned around and right behind me stood an old friend of Mike's who I haven't seen since my father-in-law's funeral.  

Friday, June 29.  I hooked up the Gypsy and headed out to Kegonsa State Park where Pat and Rog and I are camping over class reunion weekend.  Tonight was an informal gathering at Springers on Lake Kegonsa, where a classmate, Brett, entertained us with his guitar and singing. It was a really good turnout, so much fun, and great to see so many classmates and friends through the years, 50 to be exact.  It's hard to believe.

I also ran into Mike's Aunt Joan and her family, there to celebrate her 83rd birthday.  

Vicki, Lindsay, Me, Louie, Joan, and Jeri Jo

Saturday, July 30.  The day got off to a slow start since it was close to midnight when we got home last night (thanks to Susan and Dean for the safe ride home).  Pat fixed us biscuits and gravy for breakfast and then we took a nice, long walk with the dogs along the Tall Oak trail.  Back at our campsites, we played a game of 500 Rummy.  Just as we were playing the last hand, Chris and Norm came by for a visit and we sat and chatted with them for a few hours.

They left, Rog left to go to s baseball game, Pat and I took showers and got ready for round 2 of our class reunion.  Tonight's activities were held at the Stoughton Country Club and we had a turnout of 120 people, the best turnout of any reunion yet.  The person who traveled the longest distance came from Okinawa, Japan and the shortest lived just across the street.  There were a few who had never come to a reunion previously.  It was a wonderful, fun evening with lots of laughs and plenty of story telling.  I stole a couple of photos that friends posted on Facebook.  

Tom Carleton, Karen Santos, Brett Peterson, Me, Steve Sproul, Pat, and Jim Cowee

Monday, July 18, 2016

July 18 - 24, 2016, WI

Monday, July 18.  We are settled in at the North Bay Shore County Park, just south of Peshtigo, the best place we have been at since this trip started and for half the price.  I am disappointed in the KOA campgrounds that we stayed in on this trip, they are usually consistently nice and clean.  The sites were dirt, with very little grass and the hookups in both of the places were very difficult to work out.  This morning, I had to hook up my car and pull it forward about 10 feet in order to dump the tanks, had to run the hose under my camper and then found that the hookup was wiggly - I had to ask Pat to hold the hose down so it didn't jump out and splatter yuck all over the place.  A Shitty setup it was.

This place is gorgeous with level paved sites, nice layout with plenty of space in between, tall shade trees, clean facilities, and right on the western shore of Lake Michigan - I would love to stay here again some day.

We played cards, had steak, mushrooms, and salad for dinner, and shared a bottle of "Marquette" wine from the Threefold Winery in Stephenson, MI - an Honestly UP wine.  While Pat and I did dishes, Roger got a fire going and we played s couple of games of washers, Pat won both games agains Rog and I.  We took the dogs for a walk out to the lakeshore and watched the almost full moon casting its reflection on the water. Once again, I wasn't able to stay awake long enough to see the starlit sky.

Tuesday, July 19.  Pat and Rog were on the road by about 8:30 and I proceeded to clean my house - boy, did it need it after a week of tracking in sand and dirt and the usual layer of Frisco's hair.  When I finished that, I loaded up all of the laundry and headed into Peshtigo in search of a laundromat.  It was right on the edge of town, my two loads took an hour and I chatted with a friendly local gal and that helped to pass the time.  

I picked up a few groceries and stopped at the local museum to learn all about the Peshtigo fire that occurred on October 8, 1871 (the same day as the great Chicago Fire) and more lives were lost in this one.  The docent told me about 1,200 lives were lost, the entire town burned to the ground and thousands of acres of forest were burned.  She told me how the people that survived had to stay in the river, dunking their heads to keep their hair from burning.  They had to stay there until after the ground cooled down and many lost their lives to hypothermia - it is cold around here in October.  The museum carries a few items that were recovered and the cemetary next door has a monument with a mass grave of over 300 local folks.

Friday, July 22.  I'm back in Stoughton after a wonderful week and a half vacation with great friends, seeing places that I've never seen before, and enjoying the gorgeous landscape of Wisconsin and Michigan. 

I spent the last 2 days with my long-time friend, Carol, near Sheboygan and we caught up on lost time over the last 2 years. There is nothing like seeing someone after a couple of years and just picking up where you left off.  Richard got home from a week of work in Wausau and it was nice to catch up with him too - I hadn't seen him since Mike's Memorial.  They were leaving early this morning for Michigan, so I headed back to Stoughton then too.

I took the long route, through many small towns and then I stopped to walk along the paths at Horicon Marsh, a 32,000 acre wetland that is a nesting area for waterfowl and migratory birds.  I saw several species of birds on my short walk including Canada Geese, White Pelicans, A Green Heron, and various kinds of ducks.  The colorful roadsides on the drive home were dotted with white Queen Anne's Lace, pretty blue Cornflower, yellow Black-eyed Susans and bright orange day lilies, all against the varied green backdrop of grasses, crops and trees.  

A cool sculpture at the Horicon Marsh Welcome Center.

Monday, July 11, 2016

July 11 - 17, 2016, WI, MI

Monday, July 11.  I had a nice walk with Dawn this morning and we sure did talk about lots of subjects, mostly family and health issues.  I washed the car when I got back home, it really needed it after the buildup of bugs from KC to MN to WI.  Speaking of bugs, the fireflies have been numerous and fun to watch in the evenings.

We all went to Costco this morning (Tracey bought a printer for her mom that they didn't really like) and then Pat suggested Players Pub as a good place to have a burger.  There is nothing quite like a good bar burger and our choices all proved to be yummy.  If I weren't the designated driver, I would have had a beer.  

Tuesday, July 12.  I hooked up my trailer last night, so I could pull out by 7:00 this morning.  My first stop was to empty my holding tanks at Camping World, then had the air in my tires checked and was right on time to meet Pat and Rog in a large lot near the interstate.  We headed north to I-39 through Stevens Point, Wausau, Tomahawk, and Minoqua on our way to Jim and Sue's Shady Rest in St. Germaine.  The woods gets thicker and thicker the farther north you get - it's beautiful!

It was great to see them again and we got right down to business with conversation over Bloody Mary's, or another cocktail of our choice.  We all have the recent sale of homes to celebrate and, as always, just plain getting together.  We enjoyed the beautiful north woods surrounding their home, took a walk, had a great dinner, and then played "Pass The Pigs" and "Farkle".

Wednesday, July 13.  After coffee and a yummy breakfast this morning, we headed out to Lake Shannon and hiked the path around the lake, stopping every now and then to enjoy the beauty of our surroundings.  While there, we spotted some loons and Bald Eagles flying overhead.

Can you see the Loons behind me?

There's a fungus among us.

My spot at Jim n Sue's Shady Rest.

Thursday, July 14. Happy Birthday to my dear, sweet, niece, Monica.  We said our goodbyes after breakfast this morning and headed down the road, going east instead of west.  Earlier this week, there were terrible storms and flooding along US Highway 2 that caused many sections of the road to flood and much of it is closed between here and Duluth. We came up with Plan B which is to head east toward Sioux Ste Marie and see the southern shore of Lake Superior instead. 

We had light drizzle and rain and had to slow down for a few turkeys but the 3-hour drive to Ishpeming, MI was easy with good roads and not a lot of traffic.  Once we got setup, we headed to Marquette and took Lakeshore Drive all along the beautiful lake and stopped to take a walk with the dogs along the hiking/biking path.  It is cold - 63 degrees with a strong wind coming from the west.  The shoreline is rocky and you can see several scattered islands not far from shore.  We drove through Presque Isle Park and it was gorgeous, with many pull offs to get to view the rocky shoreline.

This is a memorial to all who have lost their lives in Lake Superior.

The drive through Presque Isle Park was gorgeous!

We even made a stop at Da Yoopers Tourist Trap and it lives up to its name - a tourist trap.  Mike and I attended several performance by da Yoopers - a show that was always good for lots of laughs.

Pat made chili for dinner - I couldn't have asked for anything more appropriate. I think the rain is done, but tomorrow will not warm above 62 degrees, better dig out the longjohns.

Friday, July 15.  Today started out like an January day in Arizona - chilly, like 50 something, then gradually warmed to about 62.  The 62 was unite comfortable as the sun was shining.  The drive from Ishpeming to Newberry was only a couple of hours and the only wildlife that we saw along the way was Sandhill Cranes - none of the moose or bear that we were warned of along the roadsides.

We arrived at the KOA in Newberry and were pretty disappointed when we saw our sites - nicely wooded, but all dirt, uphill to get in them, difficult to level, and the connections are on the front and not the back and also on the wrong side for one of us.  I don't think my hose would even reach, so I didn't even try, it would turn from white to brown after a one night stay.  I came real close to complaining. But decided to write it in my review instead - the place isn't cheap.

We headed out to see the Tahqamenon Falls but when we pulled in at the state park, the line of cars to get in was about 10 long, so we decided to go to the shipwreck museum in Whitefish Point first.  I was impressed with that place and learned a lot about the Great Lakes and especially, Lake Superior.  We saw a few things that were salvaged from the Edmond Fitzgerald that sunk in 1975 and a few it s that had washed up on the shoreline of several others.  It is estimated that some 500+ ships have sunk just a short distance from this point, either from extremely bad weather conditions or from visibility and crashing into other ships.  The lighthouse and buildings that were used to staff and maintain it are left in good condition and provide a pretty good picture of what life was like for those hearty souls.

From there, we stopped at the Lower Falls at Tahquamenon State Park and walked the trail that led to the falls, then a bit farther down the road to the Upper Falls - gorgeous views and a nice, walk.

Lower Falls

Gotta try a selfie now and then.

Upper Falls

It's Friday - there must be a fish fry somewhere.  We found one at the Newberry Eagles Club - I had the local whitefish and it was yummy. I can't say much for the drinks - I guess beer would have been better.  We had a nice campfire (a challenge to get it going) but very nice once it took off. Good times.

Saturday, July 16.  Our drive was pretty short, we cut south to US Hwy 2 and drove along the north shore of Lake Michigan - the shore is beachy and pretty calm, compared to what we saw yesterday on Lake Superior.  It was a beautiful drive and we quickly checked into our sites at the KOA in St. Ignace.  The sites are so strangely setup here - one electric tower is shared between 2 sites and the water/sewer are not conveniently located either.  My electric and water had to go under my trailer and the hookups are right there where I exit the camper.  I'm not even sure if my sewer hoses will reach - we shall see.  We had sites 10-11 but Roger couldn't figure out how his connections would work, so he switched sites with the guys that were coming into 12.  All worked out, they were friendly and good neighbor's - both father and son were retired fishing guides.

Pretty clouds in a clear, blue sky.  I thought it looked like flying Angels.

Roger stayed back with the dogs and Pat and I went into town, strolled the main drag, saw the Ojibway Museum and the final resting place of Father Marquette, the missionary who brought Christianity to the local Indian tribes, and we saw Mackinac Island and Lake Huron.  I really had no desire to go over there - from what I hear it is just a bunch of t-shirt shops and the Grand Hotel.  We saw what we wanted to see, then went back to the campsite, started a fire, then I fixed sausage and peppers for dinner.  Pat and I got silly and had a nice time.

Sunday, July 17.  I slept in until 7:30 this morning and it sure felt good.  Pat fixed breakfast and then we walked the dogs and got ready for the day, heading to Sault Ste Marie.  Rain is predicted and we plan to cross into Canada, so we left the dogs at home.  

The drive was about 50 miles and we headed straight to the locks to watch boats going from Lake Huron to Lake Superior through the St. Mary's River.  It sure is interesting how that works.  Once the Federal Churchill got into the locks, some of the crew left the boat to collect their mail and laundry while the locks filled up, then they returned and the ship went through.  We then walked along the downtown streets, browsed in a couple of shops, and watched a fund-raising basketball tournament on courts that were marked off on the street.  We then crossed into Canada, walked a path in a park along the river, and hoped to get a bite to eat but there was nothing open.  We stopped at the duty free shop before crossing back into the US and stopping at a diner called Studebakers.  The strawberry rhubarb pie that I had was delicious and hit the spot.

We drove back to St. Ignace in the rain and it continued until about 7 pm.  Pat put a corned beef, potatoes and carrots in the crock pot before we left this morning and it made for a delicious dinner.

Made it to Canada

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

July 4 - 10, 2016, WI

Tuesday, July 5.  I'm back-tracking to catch up on the days that I haven't written.  I had no cell or data connection after leaving Ben's house on Sunday morning. Between LaCrosse and Black Earth (probably a 100 mile stretch), including the land in Richland Center, was a huge dead zone. 

On Saturday morning, Ben, Pat, and I took the dogs, walked to Brueggar's for bagels for breakfast and when we got back home, everyone was up and ready for them.  Today's activity with the little ones was a drive to Minnehaha Park, along the Mississippi River, that had a nice playground and splash pool.  Pat and Ben walked a path that led to the river and watched a boat coming through the locks, something Ben had never seen before.

We had shish kebabs on the grill for dinner, a few beers, playing with little ones, movie night for the kids, so the adults could have a bit of a break and then talking and enjoying the night on the patio.

Sunday morning, we had eggs for breakfast and then Pat and Tracey and I took off. I managed to get a few family photos before pulling out.

Once again, the drive through the driftless area of southeast Minnesota and southwest Wiscomsin meant for gorgeous landscapes and a very scenic drive.  With all of the stops that I made for groceries, gas, potty breaks, and last of all, Spotted Cow beer, it took me 5 hours.  The land looks great, as usual, Peter and his friends do a wonderful job of grooming the grounds and cutting out campsites.  The group consisted of Peter, Leslie, Nancy, Steve, and Mariah, Chris and Jane this year, just enough to have one on one conversations and nice and low key. Pat and Roger, who were camping nearby in Spring Green stopped by to say hello and hung out for a while.

Unfortunately, I helped keep the fire burning with Steve and Pete until 1:30 and felt the effects the next morning.  The day dragged on and on, a short nap helped a bit.  Dang!  I'm too old for that.  It was a cool and cloudy day and I had to dig out a long sleeved shirt and wore jeans all day.  Peter, Steve and Nancy left and it was a quiet afternoon.  I didn't stay up too late and took it easy on the drinks and got a great night's sleep.

I felt so much better this morning, enjoying my coffee and walk and chatting with the girls.  We had the excitement of seeing some songbirds, bluebirds, hummers and even an oriole went flitting by.  Jane fixed breakfast this morning and then I packed up and headed out.  She and Leslie were going to spend one more night before heading back to Milwaukee.

I got to Pat's house about 3:00 and got setup in the front yard and will use the trailer for my bedroom during my stay. I feel right at home here, we had a great pork chop dinner, talked a lot, and hit the sack early.

Sunday, July 10. I have really taken it easy this week, taking life at a slow pace, visiting with Pat and Tracey, and walking through the beautiful, historic streets of Stoughton with Dawn in the morning.  I got up to Monona to see Tom and Karen for a while yesterday and took a walk down memory lane when I drove past Mom and Dad Bridge's home on Roigan Terrace.  On my drive back to Stoughton, I stopped for a chat with Ken and Gerda - we sat on their beautiful patio overlooking Lake Waubesa and watched as several species of birds coming to eat at their feeders.

I did get my hair cut on Friday and decided to go short again - so tired of having to blow dry and style it.  Here's the new do

Today, I did my grocery shopping to prepare for my trip around Lake Superior that starts on Tuesday.  I also stopped by and had a nice visit with Fran.

Friday, July 1, 2016

July 1 - 3, 2016, MN

Friday, July 1.  The morning with Camille went well and we were back home by noon.  I'm not sure what happened but she melted down just as soon as she saw Charlotte and Norah - I guess all of the emotions of being away from home, Jill being gone on a business trip, and all of the new activities.

Pat and Tracey arrived for a couple of days visit this afternoon and it took the kids a while to open up to them but they all had fun once the shyness wore off.  We ordered pizza for dinner and it felt so good to have my family together once again, we enjoyed sitting out on the patio and talked and talked.

The sky looked so pretty this morning.